The Instigator
unitedandy
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
vardas0antras
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The Argument from reasonable Non-Belief (ANB)

Do you like this debate?NoYes+4
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
unitedandy
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/15/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,948 times Debate No: 14399
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (20)
Votes (2)

 

unitedandy

Pro

= = = Intro = = =
The ANB presented will narrow the focus of the argument to Christianity exclusively, & will therefore expand the term "Non-Belief" to all positions which do not accept the truth of Christianity. My argument will also only consider "reasonable non-belief"- sincere, rational belief in any other worldview. Now this argument only applies to particular Christians, therefore theological views similar to that of John Hick (1) or Thomas Talbot (2) will find themselves less immune to such an argument, but as Vardas does in fact believe in Hell (3), the argument will most definitively apply to him. That being dealt with, the first thing to establish is the very nature of the Christian God.

According to the Bible, the Christian God is omnipotent (Matt 19:26), omniscient (1 John 3:20) and omnibenevolent (Psalms 18:30). He is the Personal Creator of the Universe (Genesis 1) " Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4) (4) These relevant points actually lead us to the first premise of the argument. Presented formally, the argument looks like this:

P1 - If the Christian God exists, we have good reason to think reasonable non-belief in Christianity does not exist.

P2 - Reasonable non-belief in Christianity does exist

C - Therefore, we have good reason to think the Christian God does not exist.

= = = Defending P1= = =

a) Knowing the Christian God - Assuming that a necessary (but not sufficient condition) for salvation is developing a loving relationship with the Christian God is the first basis for defending P1. Now clearly, reasonable non-belief not only contradicts this, but, in many cases prevents such a relationship from taking place. Now, quite clearly, we can only love, respect & worship that which we think exists. All different avenues of reasonable non-belief prevent such a relationship, thereby inhibiting us from our real goal - a loving relationship with the Christian God. Now clearly, if the Christian God exists as defined, He wants a loving relationship with us, & threats to that relationship are threats to our own salvation, & as 1 Timothy 2:4 states, as He wants us all to be saved, then threats to this salvation seem contradictory to His desires. Thus, we have good reason to think that if the Christian God exists, then He desires that we have a relationship with Him, & things which prohibit this desire, such as reasonable non-belief in Christianity would not exist.

b) The Consequences of belief - Again, if these beliefs are a necessary but not sufficient condition for salvation, then the consequences of making a wrong decision will be one of eternal significance, with either maximal good or infinite suffering. Now again the line from 1 Timothy 2:4 is relevant here, as is James 5:11, "that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy." Again, reasonable non-belief plays havoc here. If the Christian God sincerely wants us all to be saved (enunciated above), then humans who have inculpably been lead astray by reasonable non-belief will endure an unimaginable penalty. The Christian God, as stated, desires us all to be saved, and the existence of reasonable non-belief contradicts this so severely as before. Therefore, we have reason to affirm that if the Christian God exists, reasonable belief does not exist.

c) Some more reasons - Also, the fact that some already claim to have "properly basic" knowledge of the Christian God, while others do not seems to suggest that the Christian God is not only capable of providing such feats, but actively does so in many cases. Lastly, if there is no reasonable non-belief, then we become more responsible for our own salvation. It is my contention that rather than the elimination of reasonable non-belief impinging upon free-will, such action would provide us with more responsibility, enable us to enter a relationship with the Christian God and avoid all the problems mentioned above. So yet again, it is clear that if the Christian God exists, then reasonable non-belief is contrary to many of His desires (specifically outlined in the Bible), and due to His nature, we have good reason to affirm P1 - that if the Christian God exists, we have good reason to think reasonable non-belief in Christianity does not exist

= = = Defending P2 = = =
a) Reasonableness - Both vardas & I seem to agree that the existence of reasonable non-belief is prima facie plausible and that it certainly can't be ruled out (5) , lessening my task for establishing P2. Now clearly, there are many individuals who come to disbelieve in Christianity based largely on rational grounds, people who were emotionally committed to Christianity, but were unable to sustain a belief for a variety of intellectually grounded factors. This includes people like Bart Ehrman &John Loftus, & as Christian Daniel Howard Snyder writes,

" Even though some nonbelievers lack true benevolence, the empirical evidence strongly suggests that others possess it since they really do earnestly seek the truth about God, love the Good, assess the evidence judiciously, and, if anything, display a prejudice for God, not against Him." (6).

Thus, we have one of many admission from Christians that reasonable non-belief does in fact exist.

b) Diversity - More support for P2 actually comes from religious diversity. Members of Islam, Judaism and many other religions display a willingness to serve a God. Clearly, the fact that this is so again demonstrates beyond all doubt that non-belief in Christianity can stem not from a stubbornness of the will, but a genuinely sincere difference in what one believes is true. But let's take this one step further. Christians such as William Lane Craig actually use their own personal experience with Jesus Christ as the single biggest factor in their faith. If other religious people (as I'm sure they do) believe just as fervently that their own religious experience validates their beliefs, aren't they just as reasonable to conclude that their faith is right? It seems to me that the only way to assert otherwise is to argue against the virtue of personal experience as a reason for Christian belief - which no Christian really wants to do. Again, in the absence of a defeater, we see good grounds for concluding that reasonable non-belief in Christianity exists.

c) Ignorance - Likewise, a strong reason for not believing in Christianity would be one of ignorance. All peoples who predate Christ, most of His contemporaries and much of the world hereafter are surely rational to lack belief in something they have never heard of. This seems undeniable, yet even this point alone is enough to establish P2. Also, a point related to that above is that people are simply unsure of what is true. How is one to KNOW, for instance that Christianity, and not Islam is the true religion? Both offer various claims and do so as the Word of God, promising Hell to all unbelievers. Another type of ignorance is that of many atheists and agnostics in the world who have never had a religious experience. If Christianity asserts an ability to personally experience God (which it does), then surely I am rational to disbelieve if no such experiences are forthcoming. Millions of people around the world (including myself) seem to be lacking such an ability, and are at least rational to suspend Christian belief on such a basis.

Thus, Schellenberg concludes (7):

" Given these different forms of support, it would take something like wilful blindness to fail to affirm that not all nonbelief is the product of wilful blindness (even if some of it is)."

= = = Sources = = =
(1) http://en.wikipedia.org..., (2), ibid, Thomas Talbott
(3) (5) http://www.debate.org...
(4) http://www.biblegateway.com...
(6) (7) http://en.wikipedia.org...
vardas0antras

Con

I am not sure what I should write for my introduction... So let me express my gratitude to my opponent and the readers. Please vote fairly and explain your votes for I feel safe in saying that we both (me and my opponent) would rather lose than win unfairly.

:: Reasonable arguments against Yahweh do exist ::

The first error that I find in the first premise is that if Yahweh (the Christian God) exists then reasonable arguments against Yahweh most certainly exists ! In Psalm 10 David complains "Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? " and he does the same in Psalm 44 "Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression?". In Isaiah 45, Yahweh is described as a God who hides "Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour". So in conclusion reasonable arguments against Yahweh are compatible with Yahweh.

However, this does not mean that its unreasonable to believe in Yahweh. Yes, David did indeed have his doubts as I have just shown but ultimately he believed.

In Conclusion:
1. There are reasonable arguments against Yahweh's existence. Which supports non-belief.
2. However, there are good reasons to believe. Which supports Christianity.
3. Therefore, for the Christian God to exist he simply has to be the more reasonable choice.
4. Now, we are back to square one.

:: Belief in God (and Jesus) is not necessary for salvation ::

"For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus" (Romans 2:14-16)

"Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS'." (Matthew 7:21-23) (I intentionally capitalized the last two words)

When my opponent says "Now, quite clearly, we can only love, respect & worship that which we think exists." he forgets about a question which used to torment me. The question being "What about those who have never heard ?".

1. Since Yahweh is omnibenevolent we are justified in assuming that everybody has an equal chance of salvation.
2. There is no contradiction in the statement "X loves all Y's personality traits but X does not believe that Y exists".
3. One can be saved without ever hearing the word "Jesus" or even believing in a God.
Debate Round No. 1
unitedandy

Pro

Intro
I have to say that I found Con's response rather disappointing, and as he admitted, it was a rather rushed response, though after having 2 weeks to prepare, I'm not sure why. The main reason I say this is that even if I grant his entire post, my argument still stands. There were at least 4 lines of support from P1, and he only responded to one of them, and then give an additional reason for doubting P1, meaning that at best his rebuttal is only partially effective.

Concession of P2
Additionally, we should note that Con (after indicating otherwise initially) seems to accept P2 - that reasonable non-belief in Christianity does exist, thus our only contention seems to be P1 - that if the Christian God exists, we have good reason to think reasonable non-belief in Christianity does exist.

Defending P1

"Belief in God and Jesus is not necessary for salvation."

Con gives 2 passages in support of this claim, the first being Romans 2:14-16. The basic point of this passage is that one cannot merely pay lip service to "the Law", but must also obey it to gain salvation (1). The problem here is that such a response was already anticipated by my first post, when I said that belief in the Christian God was a NECESSARY BUT NOT SUFFICIENT CONDITION for salvation. So even here we have a confirmation of P1 rather than a denial of it - in fact, in order to obey "the Law", one must first recognise both that it exists and that it's importance is paramount. So rather than undercut P1, Con unwittingly proves my point, and we have further reason to suppose that if the Christian God desires us to know that He exists, then we should expect to know it.

As for Matthew 7:21, this again tells us that belief is not sufficient for salvation, but doesn't say that that belief is not necessary, so similar points apply here - that only those who do "the will of the Father" will enter Heaven, but if we have reason to doubt the Christian God, then surely the fact that He wills us to do things will become mute (2). In fact, this passage as actually used in evidence FOR the view that unbelievers go to Hell, so Con shoots himself firmly in the foot here (3) Yet again, this actually strengthens my hand here, but lets just spell out some of the passages which contradict the view that belief in God (or Jesus) is not necessary for salvation:

John 14:6 - Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (4)

John 3:18 - He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (5)

Mark 16:16 - He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (6)

Note here also that even if I granted Con's position, we would still seem to agree that IF non-belief were punishable by Hell, THEN the ANB would be justified, meaning that it would still be a formidable argument for many, if not most, Christians who do believe that Hell awaits unbelievers.

There are various other Bible passages as well, but given the nature of Con's belief in the Bible as the divinely inspired Word of God, even one of these passages is enough, and with his own passages actually supporting my position, it is clear that P1 is actually better supported now that it was in the previous round. Also, reasonable non-belief prevents us from having a personal relationship with God, is seemingly incompatible with reformed epistemology and encroaches on our free-will. Now, when even one of these points is enough to establish P1, then Con not responding to 3 of them (which were posted in R1) is grounds for conceding P1, no matter how good Con's rebuttal is to the point above. Thus, we have good reasons for supposing that P1 is justified, and that the conclusion follows - that we have good reason to believe that the Christian God does not exist.

Con's argument against P1 - The compatibility between non-belief and God

Here Con essentially hovers over my grounding for P1 in order to make his own case, using 2 bible passages to support his contention that reasonable non-belief is compatible with the Christian God. Again, Con seems to quote a verse which destroys his own case, as the message of Psalm 10 is that of the dangers of straying from God (7). If the wickedness of unbelief is that described by Psalm 10, then surely reasonable non-belief would be completely against God's desires, and would again strengthen the reasons we would have for upholding P1.

Isaiah 45 used by Con again completely backfires, saying, "Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker" and "I have not spoken in secret" (8). So yet again, Con actually makes my own argument for me here, and thus, after seemingly conceding P2, has no alternative but to accept the conclusion, and consequently affirm the resolution of the debate. But even worse, the Bible actually denies that atheism ( a particular brand of non-belief) can in fact be reasonable:

Psalm 14:1 - The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none of them that doeth good. (9)

So here we have yet another passage which condemns atheism as necessarily foolish, thus supporting P1 - If the Christian God exists, we have good reason to think that reasonable non-belief does not exist.

Conclusion

After challenging me to debate this topic, it seems that Con shows no real desire to get to grips with its demands, not even responding to 3 of the 4 points I raised to support P1. Furthermore, the majority of points he did raise actually supported my case better than his own, with none of his bible quotations actually supporting a denial of P1. Lastly, the rushed nature, lack of clarity and severe lack of depth in Con's response seem to show not just an unwillingness to engage with the ANB presented, but there are clear markers that Con misses the point of the argument, such as his proclamation that belief in the Christian God can be reasonable - this is both completely compatible and utterly irrelevant irrelevant to ANB.

Sources

(1) http://www.preceptaustin.org...
(2) http://bible.cc...
(3) http://apostolicrevelation.blogspot.com...
(4) http://bible.cc...
(5) http://bible.cc...
(6) http://bible.cc...
(7) http://www.ccel.org...
(8) http://www.biblegateway.com...
(9) http://scripturetext.com...
vardas0antras

Con

+++ Introduction+++

"Lastly, the rushed nature, lack of clarity and severe lack of depth in Con's response" This needs to be supported also after reading it again, I take my words back. "Con misses the point of the argument, such as his proclamation that belief in the Christian God can be reasonable" You're referring to the premise I used in order to get to my conclusion ? This had to be said so that my stance would be completely clear. This was in no way, shape or form used as an argument and I'm sure that the reader can recognize that.

+++ Premise 1+++

::Romans::
"in order to obey 'the Law', one must first recognise both that it exists and that it's importance is paramount."

My opponent apparently missed this part " Gentiles ***who do not have the Law*** do instinctively the things of the Law". Also how is the importance of the law relevant ? Equation:
1. Lets assume that it's against the law to press the red button.
2. John knows the great consequence of pressing the red button but Johnny only knows that he ought not to press the red button.
3. Both press the red button.
Hence, both are guilty. Granted Johnny is more likely to press the red button. Does that make him innocent ? No.

Also, yes "one cannot merely pay lip service to 'the Law', but must also obey it to gain salvation " is encompassed in Roman 2:14-16.

::Matthews::
"but doesn't say that that belief is not necessary"
This is implied by the "Lord, Lord" part but I must admit that I couldn't say this without the Romans quote.

" if we have reason to doubt the Christian God, then surely the fact that He wills us to do things will become mute"
This ought to be elaborated.

::My opponents passages::

John 14:6 :
What about those who were born before Jesus ? How can a prophet of God (Isaiah for example) go to hell ? He can't. Therefore, my opponents interpretation is incorrect. Another interpretation is that Jesus died for our sins and if that didn't happen then we all would go to hell.

John 3:18 :
Same argument as before. The alternative interpretation is that this verse is talking about people with beliefs that aren't purely based on reason. This is supported by "believeth not is condemned already" because this implies a person who is unwilling to change his world view despite whatever evidence or reason is presented.

Mark 16:16 :
"believeth and is baptized shall be saved" How can someone who has never heard of Christianity hear of baptism ? Clearly, this is excluding the group who have never heard of baptism. Why ? Because these people have reasonable unbelief in Christianity, after all how can you believe in something that doesn't exist. Why should other groups with reasonable unbelief be included ?

"Hell"
Seeing how I support the idea of unbelievers being saved, this is of no problem for me.

"Also, reasonable non-belief prevents us from having a personal relationship with God"
Response:
"2. There is no contradiction in the statement 'X loves all Y's personality traits but X does not believe that Y exists' ".

::Other Christians::
I thought you were debating me ? If you think that this argument may work against other Christians or religious people then feel free to debate them.

::My own arguments::
Psalm 10:
"the message of Psalm 10 is that of the dangers of straying from God"
I don't see from where my opponent got this, even his own source says "This description represents, as in a mirror, a lively image of a widely corrupt and disorganised state of society". Moreover, I don't see how this is an argument, surely if Psalm 10 used your title "dangers of straying from God" then this would be about the love of God and love of sin. I have already shown how one can love God without knowing him:
"2. There is no contradiction in the statement 'X loves all Y's personality traits but X does not believe that Y exists' ".

"reasonable non-belief would be completely against God's desires"
I bet that we all would want to be in the garden of Eden where we are in paradise and we can communicate with God, however, there's that problem of sin. Since its established that God would rather have everyone know him we can reasonably conclude that sin is somehow preventing this. Also, what you love is more important for God, as I said before, you don't have to know who God is to love him via what he represents.

Isaiah 45:
"Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker"
Striving against someone does not equal not believing in someone. I honestly fail to see how this is relevant.

"I have not spoken in secret"
This is the entire verse:

"I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right." Isaiah 45:19

This verse shows God's willingness to reveal himself. However, in this world there are people who have never heard of Jesus. With these both things in mind we can see that finding God is not finding a Bible but rather his nature.

::Psalm 14:1::
There are two types of foolishness: intellectual and moral. When one reads the entire sentence it becomes evident that this has to do with moral foolishness. I would further argue that when one says "There is no God" he is about to sin unless this is some strange hobby that I've never heard of. Therefore, this verse shows how sinners like to dismiss authority and the excuses they make.

+++ Other +++

::Attacking your 3 defenses of Premise 1 which were presented in the first round::
To be honest, I thought that I dealt with this already, however, it doesn't feel good to be accused of something, hence this section. Granted I didn't deal with "Some more reasons" part.

A) Knowing the Christian God
"Now clearly, if the Christian God exists as defined, He wants a loving relationship with us, & threats to that relationship are threats to our own salvation, & as 1 Timothy 2:4 states, as He wants us all to be saved, then threats to this salvation seem contradictory to His desires."
B) The Consequence of belief
"humans who have inculpably been lead astray by reasonable non-belief will endure an unimaginable penalty."

Both are dealt with my view that you don't have to believe in order to go to heaven. Also, I have already shown how you can have a loving relationship with God without knowing God "2. There is no contradiction in the statement 'X loves all Y's personality traits but X does not believe that Y exists' ".

C) Some more reasons

Why should God provide a properly basic knowledge of himself ? This is grace and not everybody receives grace. Nevertheless, you need faith to believe (or else there's no free will) hence this "properly basic" belief was doubted by the same people who have it. Meaning that one can have reasonable nonbelief even with "properly basic belief".
Debate Round No. 2
unitedandy

Pro

Introduction

I wish that con had actually spent the time to explain, source and justify his arguments. All that we have seen thus far is a denial of certain propositions with little or no input from con. The fact that con makes so many of these blanket statements, coupled with mysterious and radical notions of the history of Christianity and so forth really do give me cause to doubt that con has really got to grips with the argument at all.

Con’s affirmative case

Romans - If Con thinks Paul (the author of Romans) believed in salvation for anyone other than Christians, then he is guilty of serious historical revisionism:

“Augustine of Hippo developed Paul’s idea that salvation was based on faith and not Works of the Law. “ (1)

Paul famously mourned the fate of the Jews who did not accept Christ, dreading their judgement. To actually assert however that Paul believed in salvation for unbelievers borders on delusional. Of course, even the passage he gave supports P1. When Paul refers to “the Law”, part of this is the belief in Jesus for salvation, and this is very plain within both the context of Paul’s entire teaching and Roman itself. For example, Paul writes in Romans 1:18-1;32:


“For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteous; . . .” (2)

Much of Paul’s teaching make sense only in light of such a view, and to use assert that he believed the complete opposite later in Romans is characteristic of just a basic denial of Christian history. Furthermore, Paul actually supports P1 in the same passage as above by saying that God’s existence was “manifest” and could be “clearly seen”, thus saying that no-one was reasonable to doubt either in Jesus’ resurrection or especially in God, and that reasonable non-belief did not exist. As con already accepts the existence of reasonable non-belief, he must deal with this contradiction different than Paul - yet the teachings of Paul only serve to establish P1 and thus the argument.

Isaiah - “This verse shows God’s willingness to reveal himself.”

Which is EXACTLY why non-belief is a problem. If God is able and willing, why has He not shown Himself and why does there remain reasonable non-belief. The fact that Con thinks this to be point in his favour suggests he totally fails to comprehend the argument. It may have been relevant for P2 to bring up this passage, but again, con already accepts this and all this quote does is provide evidence of his own inner inconsistency.
Psalm 14:1 - The fact that the message is repeated over and over (Psalm 10:4, Psalm 53:1, Psalm 74:18, etc) in just these Psalms, the meaning is clear, But even if we adopt con’s (unjustified) case, all this does is emphasise the point of P1 - that reasonable non-belief would not exist anyway because of its negative implications.

Defending P1
Con’s response to 3 passages here is really puzzling. He essentially denies that the passages mean what they say on the basis of their implication (mainly, what happens to those who haven’t heard, or been baptised, etc). But this is exactly consistent with the ANB. Con here is supposed to be accounting for why reasonable non-belief does in fact exist or deny that it does. Instead, he simply asserts that these passages are wrong because he realises their implications - that they affirm if the Christian God exists, we have good reason to thin that reasonable belief in Christianity does not exist (P1). Thus he asserts that these passages are simply “wrong” - with no explanation. All the problems he sights actually reinforce the view that reasonable non-belief has not been accounted for, and the only account on offer is that provided by the ANB.
The fact is that there are many, many other passages which indicate the consequences of non-belief according to the bible (John 3:16 to Luke 12:46 & more) and it seems we have far more than we need to justify P1. If con wishes to continue on pouring scorn on these passages, perhaps we should remind ourselves of what he seemed to believe before this debate:

“If you oppose the Bible, then you’re not a Christian” (3).


Knowing God - This response just baffled me:

“you can have a loving relationship with God without knowing God.”

Really? One of the first thing one notices about happily married couples is that they recognise each other’s existence! This response is just bizarre and again makes me ask, what is the point of Christianity? Again, even accepting the possibility of this ridiculous notion, con would have to argue that there would be NO difference between knowing God and believing or disbelieving, and the mere possibility that billions more people would be enlightened that God exists would surely be a plausible benefit, on both a personal and a societal level. Again, if there is ANY benefit, we have reason to affirm P1. If there is NO benefit to Christianity then what's so great about Christianity?

Properly basic knowledge & Free-will - Firstly, con’s assertion is that the denial of properly basic knowledge can be reasonable. Does he think that the denial of other minds for example, can be reasonably sustained, or any other properly basic thing can be rationally denied? Secondly, he says that properly basic belief “is grace and not everyone receives grace”. Despite claiming in his first post that we all have an equal chance at salvation, now this seems not to be the case. Also, denying that everyone has basic knowledge of God, yet affirming that we all “instinctively know of God’s Law” is another contradiction, and affirming that some people have this knowledge, while saying that one “needs faith to believe or there’s no free-will” is plain doublethink. If knowledge negates free-will, not only do Plantinga et. al have diminished free-will while also having grace, but one would assume that a being with maximal knowledge (God) would have minimal free-will. So let’s here it, does God have free-will, being the most knowledgeable creature imaginable?


Conclusion


Con seems to think that by emptying much of the content from Christianity, one can avoid the ANB, and to a certain extent he is right. It’s just that what is ends is up with is a horribly confused idea antagonistic to the text of the Bible and one which when it has content is usually contradicting itself. In fact, in many ways the attempt to solve ANB has been just as damaging as the argument itself. Con’s airbrushing of the Bible would not be so bad if he used solid justification and the occasional source (or at least one source) to back his wild claims, but he does no such thing. There are many ways one can deny P1, and although none of these are compelling to me, at least they have some relation to the real world and are internally consistent. Con’s case seems contrived at times, outrageous, radical and plain silly at others. So even against this poorly constructed, internally inconsistent, concocted and contrived mish-mash of Christianity, the ANB is still problematic.

Sources
vardas0antras

Con

+++ My Case +++

::Romans::
"Augustine of Hippo developed Paul's idea that salvation was based on faith and not Works of the Law. "

1) Please notice, this quote assumes that this person knows the "Works of the Law". Therefore, this quote does not address the people who have never heard (people with reasonable unbelief) which means that Paul isn't referring to people with reasonable unbelief.
2) The idea of salvation via "Works of the Law" was an issue that Paul commonly addressed:
http://www.docstoc.com...
As you can see this was meant for Christians and not for everyone like my opponent implied.

In Conclusion:
For the above two reasons it's obvious that my opponents quote is frankly irrelevant.

:: According to Paul, will unbelievers go to hell ?::
"Paul famously mourned the fate of the Jews who did not accept Christ, dreading their judgement."
Why did Jews reject Christ ? Was is purely due to reason ? That is the question that we must ask because it probably wasn't. Reasons for why:
Emotions:
1) Humans are emotional.
2) Emotions aren't rational.
Defense: While the fact that we're emotional does not mean that we're illogical - it is possible that due to emotions one would expect obvious evidence or would cling onto what doesn't entirely make sense. As long as its possible, this is valid.
Bias:
1) One see what one wants to see.
2) Many people want to see what suits them.
3) Truth may not be what suits them.
Defense: Same as above.
Lack of interest:
1) One may not truly care about God.
Defense: You have to search in order to find. Furthermore, its very easy to become obsessed with self with this attitude hence one may simply... Well, not care about God.

::A minor problem::
"Paul actually supports P1 in the same passage as above by saying that God's existence was "manifest" and could be "clearly seen", thus saying that no-one was reasonable to doubt either in Jesus' resurrection or especially in God, and that reasonable non-belief did not exist."
Yes, but to who was Paul referring ? Obviously, not to the people who never heard of the resurrection !

Now, you may say "This does not apply to me ! I have reasonable unbelief and I have heard of the resurrection.".
1) As long as reasonable unbelief exists, no matter where or for whom, and it is harmonious with the Bible. I win.
2) Are you sure that your belief is reasonable ? Yes, I do believe that its possible to have reasonable unbelief but it could very easily be bias. Nazis thought that they were reasonable !
3) For the few that do have reasonable unbelief, could it be that there's a purpose for this ? Heck, God could have such a complex reason that I would never understand but that doesn't mean that reasonable unbelief can't exist.

::Isaiah::

::God is able and...::
"If God is able and willing, why has He not shown Himself and why does there remain reasonable non-belief. "
I'd say that he's not willing. Well, for starters he can't force anyone to believe(without breaking free will) nor could he make it obvious that he exists since then everybody would believe out of fear. Now, because he's not obvious there are arguments against him and his existences needs a leap of faith . Sadly, the result of this divine hiddenness is reasonable unbelief.

Now, am I contradicting myself ? No, my opponent quoted me out of context. Here is the full sentence:

" This verse shows God's willingness to reveal himself. However, in this world there are people who have never heard of Jesus. With these both things in mind we can see that finding God is not finding a Bible but rather his nature."

I believe that this is self evident because all cultures know that its wrong to kill without a purpose and etcetera. So, I just was accused of saying what I didn't say. I never said "God is willing to intellectually reveal himself" but I did say "God is willing to reveal his heart".

::Psalm::
Here my opponent calls my case "unjustified" but never explains why its unjustified. After all, all I did was consider the context while my opponent was oblivious to it. He then quotes irrelevant passages and calls them relevant, for example, psalm 10:4 says " The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God". According to my opponent this an example of reasonable unbelief but according to me this is about the wicked not liking God. Finally, he says something interesting "reasonable non-belief would not exist anyway because of its negative implications." but what have we see so far ? We have seen the problem of turning away from Gods ways but have we seen anything about the evils of reasonable unbelief ? Nope.

+++Attacking P1+++

"Thus he asserts that these passages are simply "wrong" - with no explanation."
Untrue. You took passages out of context (the psalm for example) ! You never considered to whom Paul wrote ! Not only that but you just asserted this !

"The fact is that there are many, many other passages which indicate the consequences of non-belief "
Due to the character limit and the fact that you brought this up in the last round, I must decline the challenge. I will say that there's a difference between reasonable unbelief and unbelief.

"If con wishes to continue on pouring scorn on these passages,"
How am I putting scorn on these passages ? You can't just assert these things !

"One of the first thing one notices about happily married couples is that they recognise each other's existence"
There is a difference between a God and a human being.

"what is the point of Christianity?"
Christianity is the knowledge of God.

"NO difference between knowing God and believing or disbelieving"
No, I think that life is easier with the knowledge of God and so forth. I don't claim to know why there's reasonable unbelief (though I have some ideas which I already expressed) nor do I have to.

::Basic knowledge::
1) Basic knowledge of God is different from belief of "other minds". Hence, its easier to deny the basic knowledge of God. If this is untrue then there should never be doubt but there is (I can't prove this but many Atheists are former Christians so its quite possible that at least one of them had the "basic knowledge of God" ) meaning that "basic knowledge of God" is somehow different.
2)Basic knowledge of God and salvation is unrelated since salvation deals with the heart while basic knowledge of God deals with the mind.
3)Knowing Gods law instinctively does not equal knowing God. There's a difference between knowing what you ought to do and knowing who gave you this instinct or if anyone did.
4)Yes, according to scripture God does have free will. However, you again have missed the point ! We wouldn't have free will in the sense that no one will choose hell. People will follow God, not because they want to be with God or because they love him but because its the most profitable choice. Meaning that Gods purpose for us would be destroyed that being a loving relationship.
Debate Round No. 3
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by unitedandy 5 years ago
unitedandy
I think the characterisation of the debate in my last comment was a pretty accurate one (and one shared by the voters in their comments). But I know how frustrating it must be to read idiotic posts. I once debated this guy who used around 10 different, conflicting solutions to the problem of evil, gave them all up, only to play the mystery card at the end. Then there was this other guy who made the case for universal salvation based on the teachings of Paul, then denied that Paul meant what he had said when he refuted universal salvation, then tried to rationalise this position through human emotion to say that Paul was fallible and his teachings were not representative of the Christian faith. Finally, there was this other guy who said he would kill any number of innocent people if God told him to do it . . . wait a minute . . . this was you, vardas.

Seriously though vardas, stop debating and go and read about the positions first. Flinging yourself into debates 3-at-a-time is a strategy that is not working. It's even got to the stage where you can't even realise a better argument. I'd admit to being pretty complacent in the this debate, and even left myself susceptible to foreseeable criticisms. But the reason I was so careless because I saw your first post and knew that I could win the debate flagging at half-mast, and that spending lots of time and energy into responding to you would have been pointless. I did that in our last debate and you still haven't answered the 3 fallacies I identified that your bible argument committed.

In short, be prepared to be read loads and think about the validity of the other side if you want to debate philosophy or religion. If not, then stick to debating favourite TV shows or favourite desserts or something.
Posted by vardas0antras 5 years ago
vardas0antras
Eh, I don't have the energy to respond >.> especially to something as idiotic as that (sorry, but after the first read, I was in loss of words).
Posted by unitedandy 5 years ago
unitedandy
You're positive that you won? You barely responded to any of my points, and conceded that Paul in fact did believe in Hell for unbelievers (pretty much the only other point you raised). Apart from failing to grasp, respond or even engage with the debate resolution, and neglecting to put forward your own case, the style of your debating was so messy and difficult to follow that you could have lost the debate on this alone. Rationalising the predicament of Paul's views of Hell after building your whole case on Romans in the last post was an admission that you had put eggs in the wrong basket . . . yet you still think you won the debate . . . nope.
Posted by vardas0antras 5 years ago
vardas0antras
Well done unitedandy! I'm positive that I won this but I can see why I was voted against.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
"I wish that con had actually spent the time to explain, source and justify his arguments. All that we have seen thus far is a denial of certain propositions with little or no input from con. The fact that con makes so many of these blanket statements, coupled with mysterious and radical notions of the history of Christianity and so forth really do give me cause to doubt that con has really got to grips with the argument at all."

This pretty much sums up the debate for me. I realize not everyone here has formal debate experience, but some of you guys seriously need to flow your arguments better. Even if you raise good points, if your case is a disorganized mess, I might not notice them. It makes judging a RIPA. I couldn't always tell which points Vardas was addressing; which parts were direct quotes and which parts were commentary. There were snippets of arguments here and there, some arranged in bullet list form and others in stand alone mini-paragraphs. I really shouldn't have to work that hard to understand what you're getting at. Unitedandy organized well and always made it perfectly clear which argument he was addressing.

That being said, I really made an effort to understand what he was saying. Unitedandy did a great job of pointing out the errors and inconsistencies in Con's reasoning. It was his stellar defense of P1 in R3 that won him the debate, IMO.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
The arguments here were not what I would call close, as the argument is so simple in nature, I felt that the counter had to be just as simple and direct. United laid out a strong defense, and in fact P2 is near impossible to deny (how can you contend that the completely ignorant should believe) and the only attack that can be made is on P1 and the argument has to be made not only that God would not punish those who do not believe, but further that it is the optimal choice for an omni-character God. There are arguments for that (Platinga for example) but the rebuttal here seemed to be unfocused, rushed and not well supported. That being said, this was comparing it against united who is extremely strong, against the majority of the debaters on the site, con would have fared well in comparison.
Posted by vardas0antras 6 years ago
vardas0antras
BTW, please provide an RFD. Thanks !
Posted by vardas0antras 6 years ago
vardas0antras
"* throws hands in the air and thinks, "why bother?"* " Ah, I should have said something similar first :(
Posted by unitedandy 6 years ago
unitedandy
That last post . . . * throws hands in the air and thinks, "why bother?"*
Posted by vardas0antras 6 years ago
vardas0antras
Freeeeedom ! Light ! Nature ! *Goes back to the laptop* meh it all could be better :D
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
unitedandyvardas0antrasTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
unitedandyvardas0antrasTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30